Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Rodham Clinton said Friday that every child born in the United States should get a $5,000 "baby bond" from the government to help pay for future costs of college or buying a home.
The New York senator did not offer any estimate of the total cost of such a program of how she would pay for it.
No, I expect that Ms. Clinton did not bother to explain that. Why hamper the process of buying votes with other people’s money??
Since I’ll be paying for this little ditty if Hillary gets elected I whipped out my little calculator post haste. I figure that it’s going to cost around $84 billion per year. Feel free to check my numbers.
Average stock market return: about 8%
Value of $5000 in 18 years at that rate: about $21,000
Babies born annually: > 4,000,000
Total: about $84,000,000,000 annually
For perspective, this is about 5.5 times NASA’s current budget and 2.3 times the current amount spent on Food Stamps, which is to say a pretty big chunk of change. Where’s that money going to come from?
Here’s an idea: We could set that money aside now, in a sort of trust fund, so it grows with the economy. Then we won’t have to come up with a huge lump sum two decades down the line.
Sadly, we’re broke at the moment because of Iraq. Besides, the pork-barrel crowd would just raid the trust fund and spend the money on bridges to nowhere, etc., making us even worse off than if we didn’t plan ahead at all.
Clinton said such an account program would help people get back to the tradition of savings that she remembers as a child, and has become harder to accomplish in the face of rising college and housing costs.
"I think it’s a wonderful idea," said Rep. Stephanie Tubbs Jones, an Ohio Democrat who attended the event and has already endorsed Clinton. "Every child born in the United States today owes $27,000 on the national debt, why not let them come get $5,000 to grow until their 18?"
Hill and Steph, it’s a bummer about the little problem we have with a national debt and all. It’s a minor detail, just a few trillion dollars, no biggie.
Personally, I say we need to eliminate that – hell, just stop the yearly bleeding, for Pete’s sake – before we start doling out the federal largess.